Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Backyard Chickens

A Few Things I've Learned Raising Backyard Chickens...
  1. Security! My number one priority is security. If you don't keep your chickens safe, you won't have any chickens. Even in the city, there are raccoons and possums. Guess what's up above? Yep, the hawk. I have one visit several times a month. My girls are in an enclosed run and so far, nothing, but the occasional rat, has gotten in. Stole some feed, far as I can tell.  

    We've named this guy Bob Ewell (another story) He lives right there in the neighbor's shed and has taught me a few lessons. Pretty much a permanent fixture, live traps won't hold him and I will not use poison.
  1. Have a large enough run to walk around in. I started out with a small tractor. Still an enclosed run but, was 2 foot high. The only hands on interaction I had with my birds was if they were in the coop. That was the only access I had to them. I fed and watered them in the coop. They had a ramp at the back they used to enter/exit the run area. It was secure. Mr. Hawk tried but couldn't get in.  My run is attached to the coop so, everything is protected. 
    Once upon a time, I removed this run. I thought the girls would enjoy free-ranging - they did. Worked out well for quite awhile. Then, it caught up to us and we lost some birds. I have since rebuilt this set up and, once again, everyone's safe
    My first set up was this tractor. I had 2 chicks. As they grew, I expanded the run area.
  1. Watch your step. My birds love to get under-foot. Never take you eyes off your feet. You'll end up tripping over one. Also, you may not see chicken poop. But, almost every time I go in the run, I come out with dirty shoes. There's chicken bubble gum everywhere and it hides until you put your foot down.
  1. Visit with your birds regularly. They are so relaxing to be around. I take a chair and the camera into the run with me and just sit. Picture taking is challenging. Chickens are fast and will be out of the view finder in a clucking mili-second. Take treats. They go bonkers for treats.

    Store bought eggs. As Edgar Allen Poe's raven would say, “nevermore.”
I cannot stress it enough. SECURITY is number one. Always check for security. Always. If you get complacent, you'll lose some chickens. The predators always know. 


  1. Great information, I want some chickens so bad but I have to convince my husband first. Love your pictures on facebook!

  2. Since raccoons can make short work of chicken wire, I am surprised you have not had more losses. Do you secure the bottom secured so the raccoon or other predator cannot dig under? I just put a piece of hog wire under the sides of the pen so the raccoon would not be able to dig under. The wire extends a foot to the inside and three feet on the ground outside.i After the grass grows through the wire, it is invisible.

    Also, I am puzzled. My live trap always holds raccoons, about 8 over the years.

    You are correct about the entertainment value. Sadly, I have stepped on a few chicken feet and legs. They are more wary of my feet now.